Her heels echo as each sandal hits the pavement like the hooves of a horse. As we begin our five minute morning walk my Mother is leading me to the A train as I trail behind her. She wakes up everyday at 6:30 AM, to take the train not by our nearest train station but in Howard Beach.
I always wonder how does she wake up so faithfully every morning and manage to look so good. Her outfits are perfectly coordinated with matching skirts and blouses, her heels always striking so powerfully against the concrete.
I am twenty years old shouldn’t I have way more energy than her?
Thing is, I don’t.
My flats, my braided hair, my plain jane face with no make-up. A book in hand, a bag on the side, and my eyes desperate to stay open as we walk.
The surrounding homes feature quaint little bay windows and American flags perched up on the right side of each house. The sidewalk is impeccably clean–garbage cans of freshly cut grass saddle the driveway. But noticing a dark brown and green spot of what looks like a crumpled leaf–it mars the ivory concrete.
How could one single leaf remain on the sidewalk? I pass by closer and peer over–a dark greasy feather, a scrunched beak, a ruffled wing. A sad little creature remaining on the sidewalk. I will never know how she died but I loom over her in a moment of lament.
There is a clattering sound of more heels hitting the pavement. I see two other women at opposite ends of the sidewalk headed in our direction. Her work outfit is navy, swanky, and tight. She walks in careful strides as her heels are a strappy leather construction. The other woman speeds up as she sees us approaching, her short golden blonde Mom hairdo shimmies as she races to the finish line.
Mom hairdo is in such a rush but not the kind of rush that you know that person needs to actually rush. She just seems like one of those people who rushes for no reason, whose face permanently looks like she needs to race against something. Navy, swanky, tight just looks completely self-indulgent. It’s not just her outfit though. She just walks so damn carefully it makes me annoyed. Like every inch of her waist needs to fall in the right direction as she walks.
We all meet at the elevators waiting in an awful moment of concentration–the elevators will not come down no matter how much we take turns pressing the button.
My Mom takes the lead and presses the button twice as if the first press didn’t register. Mom hairdo grows impatient as she gives her hair one last shimmy. Glancing up at the top of the glass-paneled elevator she rushes over, darts up towards the platform, and scurries up the stairs. We continue to wait and in a second more the elevator comes and the rest of us cram into the glass elevator as I press the second button for UP.